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Entries in Osama Bin Laden (71)

Tuesday
Jul312012

New Book Alleges Obama Kept Postponing Raid on Bin Laden

Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A New York Times best-selling author alleges in a new book that President Obama didn't order the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011 until after he'd called off the operation three times earlier in the year.

Richard Miniter says in Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him that it was at the behest of special adviser Valerie Jarrett that Obama called off Navy SEAL operations in January, February and March of last year to get the al Qaeda leader who was holed up in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The information regarding the postponements came from an unidentified source with Special Operations Command, Miniter claims.

Responding to Miniter's charges, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday, "That is an utter fabrication.  It's seems pretty clear that Mr. Miniter doesn't know what he's talking about."

According to Earnest, "Ms. Jarrett, like the vast majority of the president's senior staff, was not read in on the operation on the mission against Osama bin Laden."

Miniter's new book is set to be released on Aug. 21.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May162012

Osama Bin Laden Compound Model on Display at Pentagon

Luis Martinez/ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Turning a lot of heads Wednesday in a Pentagon hallway is the once-classified scale model of Osama bin Laden’s compound used to plan last year’s Special Forces raid.  

It marks the first public display of what was once Ameria’s most secret scale model.

Hundreds of civilian and military employees at the Pentagon spent time Wednesday gawking at a temporary display that includes the tabletop model of the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan that bin Laden used as his hideout for five years.

Under a glass canopy is a model built by National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency (NGA) model makers who used overhead satellite imagery to create a 3-D view of  the compound in painstaking detail. The agency manages the network of intelligence gathering satellites and distributes that information throughout the national security apparatus.

A NGA fact sheet vaguely refers to the model as having “traveled extensively, including to the White House for use at senior-level briefings.”

As the intelligence community began to suspect that bin Laden might be hiding out in the compound, the model was built to help President Obama and the limited number of top officials briefed on his potential whereabouts so they could visualize what they were seeing on satellite photos.

Built over the span of six weeks, the styrofoam model was made to scale and shows the walls and infrastructure inside the compound’s walls. Every shrub and piece of ivy lining the walls seen in the satellite pictures is accurately represented in the model. The model’s scaling is one inch represents 7 feet.

“Model making is one example to replicate what people are seeing from imagery,” said Karen Finn, a spokesperson for NGA. She said the model is one of several built by the agency to help senior administration officials, as well as military personnel involved in the planning and carrying out of last year’s raid on the compound.

“That’s what we do at NGA,” said  Finn. “We provide geospatial intelligence information on all sorts of national security issues.”

Because operational and planning details for last year’s raid were some of the most tightly held secrets in the U.S. government, the model was a closely held secret. Information about the bin Laden compound was so tightly held that analysts at various intelligence agencies knew only the compartmentalized information they were supposed to know. It’s likely that the NGA model makers had no idea that the model they built was housing the most wanted man on the planet.

The model has now been declassified and since last October has been on display in the lobby of  the NGA’s headquarters in Virgina. But you can only visit that facility if you’re conducting business so Wednesday’s display marks the first time it’s been publicly displayed at the Pentagon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
May072012

Obama Campaign Tweaks Bin Laden Argument; Less ‘I’, More ‘We’

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- A backlash against President Obama’s politicization of the killing of Osama bin Laden may be having an effect on how the president and his campaign advisers refer to the accomplishment.

Namely, the president taking first-person credit last week has turned into expressions of collective achievement this week.

“Our greatest enemy brought to justice by our greatest heroes,” says the narrator in a new Obama campaign TV ad released Monday.

The president’s top campaign adviser, David Axelrod, used similar language on a conference call with reporters: “We’re proud of our service people and all they’ve accomplished,” he said.

Axelrod mentioned significant progress in the battle with al Qaeda “because of the great work of our service people and the leadership of the president.”

Although he had always before been careful to mention that Navy SEALs and service members hunted down al Qaeda, last week Obama took credit, in the first person, for making the decision to go after bin Laden in Pakistan.

“I said that I’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did,” Obama told reporters during an East Room press conference, reminding them of a campaign promise he had made in 2008.

President Obama said Romney’s words should speak for themselves. Romney had in 2007 said it wasn’t worth spending billions of dollars hunting one man, though he later moderated that position to say “of course” he would have ordered the operation against bin Laden.

Also last week, commemorating the one-year anniversary of bin Laden’s death, the Obama campaign unveiled a Web video that questioned whether Mitt Romney would have made the call to send Navy SEALs into Pakistan to assassinate the terrorist leader.

In it, former President Bill Clinton points out how difficult a political decision the call was for Obama, who could have suffered an embarrassment if the mission did not turn out.

What happened between last week and today? Some Republicans suggested President Obama and his advisers were “spiking the football” on the death of bin Laden. Obama had famously said on 60 Minutes that he would not release photos of bin Laden’s dead body because “that’s not who we are.” The liberal commentator Arianna Huffington said preening by the president and his campaign was off key.

A group called “Veterans for a Strong America,” which supports Mitt Romney, also released a harsh Web ad suggesting Obama was “taking too much credit.” The video, which runs one minute and splices together bits of Obama taking credit for the strike against bin Laden without any context, has more than a million views online. And a website with the provocative title “NavySealsAgainstObama.com” sprang up to aggregate opinion pieces critical of the president.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May032012

Hillary Clinton Kept Bin Laden Raid Secret, Bill Clinton Says

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(LOS ANGELES) -- Former President Bill Clinton Thursday offered a personal reflection on the death of Osama bin Laden and said that throughout the planning for the Navy SEAL raid he was kept in the dark.

During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Clinton was asked whether his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, shared details with him about the mission and its outcome.

“I’m trying to remember exactly when I was notified, but I’m pretty sure that I was notified by the White House, not the State Department, which was exactly the right thing,” he said. “She never said a word to me about this -- exactly the right thing."

“When Hillary became secretary of state -- in general, if a former president asks for it, on a daily basis you can get a briefing from the CIA called the president’s daily briefing. You can get an attenuated version of that,” Clinton said. “And when she got named to that position, I said, ‘Look, I don’t want any more briefings unless the president or the National Security Council -- the White House people -- want me to have it.’ Because I give too many talks, do too much work -- I never want to inadvertently say something that complicates their job."

“So I didn’t know about it until they told me,” Clinton said. “She never said a word.”

The 42nd U.S. president described his reaction to the news of bin Laden’s killing in personal terms.

“It was a long saga for me -- deeply, personally, emotional, because I’m a New Yorker,” Clinton told DeGeneres.

“I knew people that died in 9/11. Hillary was a senator there. Our daughter was in lower Manhattan. Our daughter was one of the tens of thousands of people in clear visibility of the World Trade Center and [was] told to just walk north and keep going. And we couldn’t find her and didn’t know what was going on. It was an emotional moment.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May012012

Giuliani Marks OBL Anniversary with Romney at NY Firehouse

John Moore/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Rudy Giuliani returned to the national stage Tuesday in a familiar role: America’s Mayor.

He won that nickname for the reassuring leadership he provided to New York and to the nation in the chaotic hours after the Sept. 11 attacks.

He put that image to use again Tuesday, this time standing with likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on the first anniversary of the U.S. military raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

But Giuliani’s appearance -- at a New York firehouse that lost 11 men in the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 -- carried special significance this time.

It came as Romney has been on the defensive, trying to beat back suggestions by President Obama and Vice President Biden that Romney would not have ordered the raid on bin Laden’s Pakistani compound had he been president.

Giuliani vouched for Romney Tuesday, declaring, “Mitt Romney, anyone else, would have made the same decision.” Giuliani also said that Obama deserves credit for ordering that raid, “but I wish he wouldn’t use it as a source of negative campaigning. I think that’s a big mistake.”

Giuliani was wrapping up his second term as mayor when two planes crashed into the Trade Center’s towers. He has been a potent symbol and weapon for the Republican Party ever since, even though his own candidacy for president fizzled four years ago.

He has endorsed Republicans around the country and gave a rousing speech for then-President George W. Bush at the 2004 Republican convention -- held, not so coincidentally, in New York City.

“Without really thinking, based on just emotion, spontaneously, I grabbed the arm of then-Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and I said to him, ‘Bernie, Thank God George Bush is our president,’ and I say it again tonight, ‘Thank God George Bush is our president,’” Giuliani told the convention crowd.

Political analysts said Giuliani’s appearance with Romney couldn’t hurt the Republican nominee, but they questioned how much it would help. Some said that by ordering the successful raid on bin Laden, Obama’s anti-terrorism credentials now trump Giuliani’s.

“The bottom line is: Obama killed Osama. In essence, Rudy is now the victim. He has been eclipsed as the face of defiance to al Qaeda and Osama,” said Douglas Muzzio, a professor at the Baruch College School of Public Affairs.

Giuliani’s appearance with Romney was his first since the former mayor endorsed Romney last week. The two have had a rocky relationship. They were rivals during the 2008 presidential race, and late last year Giuliani ridiculed Romney as a serial flip-flopper who would be eviscerated by Obama if he became the Republican nominee.

“What Barack Obama will do with that [is say], ‘This is a man without a core, a man without substance, a man that will say anything to become president of the United States,’" Giuliani said then.

All that was forgotten Tuesday.

“I’m really glad that Gov. Romney selected this particular firehouse as a place to pay tribute to our firefighters, who after all were the first responders to this terrorist war against us, which is a war that still continues and that we still have to be vigilant about. Gov. Romney certainly understands that and has been from the very beginning a leader in the effort to make certain that America remains safe,” Giuliani said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May012012

Romney: ‘Any Thinking’ American Would Have Taken Down bin Laden

File photo. (ABC/ Ida Mae Astute)(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney said Tuesday that while President Obama deserves credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden it is “disappointing” to see the commander-in-chief using the historic event as a “political football,” reasserting that “any thinking American” would have made the same order.

“As I said at the time when the announcement was made about Osama bin Laden having been killed, I congratulated the president and the intelligence community as well of course Seal Team 6,” said Romney in an interview on CBS This Morning. “I acknowledged the president’s success and think he had every right to take credit for him having ordered that attack.”

“At the same time I think it was very disappointing for the president to try and make this a political item by suggesting I wouldn’t have ordered such a raid, of course I would have,” said Romney, echoing remarks he made Monday in which he quipped that “even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.”

Romney spent much of the interview asserting that he would have taken the same action to launch an attack on bin Laden, who was killed a year ago Tuesday.

“Any American any thinking America would have ordered the exact same thing,” said Romney. “But of course you give the president the credit for the fact that he did so.”

The Obama administration, in a campaign video released last week, raised questions as to whether Romney would have taken the same action had he been president in the months leading up to the bin Laden raid, a move the Romney campaign has condemned as “divisive” and “distracting.”

Pressed about the decision-making process that went into ordering the hit on bin Laden, CBS host Charlie Rose reminding the candidate that not everyone in on the decision agreed that giving the order was the right course of action, Romney remained confident.

“You can look at the different military options but clearly if you’ve identified where Osama bin Laden is the United States of America is going to take action to capture him or kill him and that was the right action to be taken that was the right course to be taken,” he said. “Of course the right course was to assassinate, execute Osama bin Laden and that’s precisely what happened and I congratulate the president for doing so.”

“And I’m confident that of course I would have taken the exact same decision,” he added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr302012

President Obama Suggests the Public Look at Romney’s Past OBL Statements

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Without mentioning his opponent by name, President Obama took clear political aim at Mitt Romney on Monday, continuing a line of attack from his campaign that Romney would not have given the go-ahead to the mission that ended in the death of Osama bin Laden.

Asked about Romney’s comments from earlier Monday morning belittling how difficult the decision to go after bin Laden may have been, the president said, “As far as my personal role and what other folks would do, I’d just recommend that everybody take a look at people’s previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden. I assume that people meant what they said when they said it. That’s been at least my practice.”

The president was alluding to Romney’s 2007 comments about bin Laden that “it’s not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” The Obama campaign last Friday released a Web ad suggesting that this sentence suggests he would not have been willing to take the risk and order Navy SEALs to cross into Pakistan and infiltrate bin Laden’s Abbotabad compound.

Continued the president, “I said that I’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him and I did. If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they’d do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it.”

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The president was also referring to Romney’s reaction in 2007 after then-Senator Obama said “if we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.” Romney at the time called those comments “ill-timed” and “ill-considered” and said “there is a war being waged by terrorists of different types and nature across the world. We want, as a civilized world, to participate with other nations in this civilized effort to help those nations reject the extreme with them.”

Romney, incidentally, was hardly the only politician taking issue with then-Senator Obama’s comments about Pakistan. Then-Senator Hillary Clinton called the remarks “irresponsible and frankly naive” in an interview with Iowa’s Quad City Times, and then-Senator Joe Biden said “the last thing you want to do is telegraph to the folks in Pakistan that we are about to violate their sovereignty.”

The Romney campaign argues that his 2007 comments about “not moving heaven and earth” to get bin Laden are being unfairly twisted by the president, that the full context indicates that he was saying the war against the extremist Islamist movement was bigger than just one man -- not that he wouldn’t go after that one man.

At the time, however, Romney’s then-primary rival Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in response to Romney’s comment that “it takes a degree of naiveté to think he’s [bin Laden] not an element in the struggle against radical Islam.”

After McCain hit him for the remark, Romney backtracked from it at a debate, saying, “We’ll move everything to get him. But I don’t want to buy into the Democratic pitch, that this is all about one person, Osama bin Laden. Because after we get him, there’s going to be another and another....This is the worldwide jihadist effort to try and cause the collapse of all moderate Islamic governments and replace them with a caliphate.”

The president made his remarks in the East Room of the White House at a joint appearance with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr302012

Romney Says ‘Of Course’ He Would Have Gone After Bin Laden

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(PORTSMOUTH, N.H.) -- Mitt Romney asserted that he would have gone after Osama bin Laden had he been president, remarking while shaking hands with supporters that “even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.”

“Of course,” said Romney, when asked by a reporter if he would have led the charge to find bin Laden, who was killed a year ago under the authority of President Obama. “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order,” said Romney.

President Jimmy Carter did authorize a daring special operations attempt to rescue American hostages held in Iran in 1979. But that mission – Operation Eagle Claw – had to be aborted and ended disastrously with eight American service members dead in a helicopter crash.

Romney’s statement suggesting Obama’s decision to okay the raid on bin Laden could have been made by any president comes just a few days after a video produced by President Obama’s campaign and featuring an interview with former President Bill Clinton questioned whether Romney would have given the order to kill bin Laden last May. The video hinged on comments made by Romney during the 2008 election in which he suggested that it wasn’t necessary to “move heaven and earth” to capture bin Laden.

The Romney campaign had dubbed the Obama campaign’s video as a “sad” attempt to “use an event that unified our country to once again divide us, in order to try to distract voters.”

Romney is set to mark the one-year anniversary of bin Laden’s killing with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in Manhattan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr292012

John Brennan: Al Qaeda Remains Focused on Planes

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said on “This Week” Sunday morning that the United States remains “especially vigilant” as the country marks the one year anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden. But he also cautioned that a threat remains from al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“On a day that marks the one year anniversary of bin Laden being brought to justice, we are especially vigilant,” Brennan said. “At this time we don’t see any active plot that is underway.”

I asked Brennan about the FBI warning this week that there are new efforts to target Western airports by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“They have demonstrated both the intent as well as the capability to try to carry out an attack,” Brennan said. “They are continuing to try to, again, carry out an attack against U.S. persons inside of Yemen as well as against the homeland.”

Brennan also confirmed that Yemeni al Qaeda offshoot remains focused on targeting planes.

“Aviation has been a target, has been a traditional target of al Qaeda,” Brennan said. ” We need to maintain our vigilance, particularly overseas at these last points of departure.”

Brennan noted that al Qaeda’s capability has been “degraded significantly” and that bin Laden’s death has made a “tremendous difference.”

“It’s taken away the founding leader of that organization who was … a symbol of al Qaeda’s sort of murderous agenda worldwide,” Brennan said. “And so, that has had I think a profound impact on the organization.”

Brennan declined to address—what some Republicans have said this week—was the politicization of the killing of bin Laden by President Obama.

“I don’t do politics. I don’t do the campaign. I am not a Democrat or Republican. I’m a counterterrorism adviser to the president,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr272012

Obama Campaign Highlights Bin Laden Success, Doubts About Romney in New Video

Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama campaign is marking the one-year anniversary of the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden with a new online video hailing President Obama’s decisiveness in the matter, and questioning whether Mitt Romney would have done the same.

The 90-second spot, titled "Once Chance," features former President Bill Clinton, who validates Obama’s leadership, invoking former President George W. Bush's rhetoric by describing President Obama as the “decider in chief.”

The video also highlights a statement by Romney from the 2007 primary, when he said of the search for bin Laden, “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”

An on-screen graphic declares, "Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?"  The suggestion is that under a President Romney, bin Laden would still be alive.

“He had to decide,” Clinton says of Obama.  “And that’s what you hire a president to do.  You hire the president to make the calls when no one else can do it.”

The video continues a line of attack against Romney initiated by Vice President Joe Biden during a campaign speech Thursday in New York City on foreign policy.

Biden said Obama’s record could be summed up in a bumper-sticker slogan: “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”  He added, “You have to ask yourself… if Gov. Romney were president, would he have used the same slogan in reverse?”

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul praised the military’s successful mission to target bin Laden but said it’s “sad” that Obama is campaigning on it.

“It’s now sad to see the Obama campaign seek to use an event that unified our country to once again divide us, in order to try to distract voters’ attention from the failures of his administration,” Saul said in a statement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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